I do not want to dwell on the particulars of the murder of Stephanie Bottrill for two reasons: firstly it feels somewhat distasteful to bandy about the name of someone I have never met, and secondly because suicide is not painless. I use the word murder quite deliberately; austerity is being inflicted deliberately to cold effect. These people know what they are doing and incidents such as this as merely collateral damage to them. I’m afraid that is unacceptable; there must be some accountability and so I use a deliberately emotive and provocative term. Murder.
However, that aside, what is beginning to become clear is that when incidents such as these occur it is very easy to traduce them by way of mental instability. Mrs Bottrill must have had something wrong with her, specifically something psychological – mental – for her to take this course of action. This is reasoned out using the same mob tactics and fallacies that are always used: other people aren’t killing themselves, and other people are struggling. So the system, the status quo, avoids blame by effectively weeding out the ‘weakest’ and blaming it on imagined failings.
It may have been that she was particularly sensitive. I do not know, so no more can I say. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive; indeed it should be a respected quality of empathy and understanding that would help our society. Instead it is a weakness; one must be callous in order to succeed. The message from the government responsible for this tragedy is that she was at fault – or that the failings of her psychology are the problem. No matter how light a touch in delivering that message her failings individually are the catalyst; not the austerity, the forced impoverishment of everyday folk.
The system will not accept blame, and nor will its adherents. My greatest fear regarding the implementation of this nasty bedroom tax is that it will be rolled out so slowly and over such a long period that individual cases like this will seem few and far between. You will hear, what appears to be, the odd case, from time to time: a suicide here and an eviction there. The point is to make it seem as insignificant as I have portrayed it when of course the reality is very different with people’s lives being torn apart. As a result the solidarity won’t be as easy to come by as if the government launched its assault on everyone simultaneously.
Consequently cases like poor Mrs Bottrill will be further traduced by an already biased media. Comments from the government and the disgraceful ‘Lord’ Freud refuse to engage with the issue citing the tired cliché of not being able to speak on individual cases, or that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to do anything more than offer, with breathtaking hypocrisy, condolences. That itself represents a stunning psychopathy: I can’t remember the last time I heard of a murderer offering condolences while continuing to act.
To defeat this government there must be solidarity and there must be action. These are not isolated cases where the failings of the individual are more pertinent than the horrible policies of a vile government. This is just more divide and rule: separate the weaker members of the herd and isolate them – even in death.